Roetman to share hope at Relay

When Susan Roetman steps to the microphone next Wednesday at the Sioux County Relay For Life, she’ll deliver a message of hope.

The annual Relay for Life is next Wednesday, June 14, at Hesla Field in Hull, beginning at 5:30 pm with a community barbeque. The opening ceremony is at 7:00, followed by the Survivor Walk.

Roetman was asked to speak at the Relay because her husband, Gary, has been battling cancer for nearly 30 years.

“Gary is a person of hope and he has such a positive attitude and he likes to share these with others who have cancer,” said Susan.

Every three weeks Gary travels to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha for five to six hours of chemotherapy to treat his pancreatic cancer.

“You get to know the people in the treatment centers and they’re all ages,” explained Susan. “Gary is always talking to them. He tells them his story of survival and he gives them hope.”

Recently they met a young man who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “He’s only 28 years old and he’s scared,” said Susan. “But Gary told him what he’s gone through and how he’s beating cancer and that seemed to help. The nurses at the treatment center always thank Gary for his positive attitude and the hope he gives to people who are just starting this cancer journey. He helps alleviate their depression and fear.”

Gary was initially diagnosed with cancer in 1989. It was Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. He endured five surgeries until 2011, when his entire colon was removed.

He remained cancer-free for nearly three years and then lost 52 pounds in six weeks. In 2014 he was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer and underwent surgery to remove parts of his small intestine, stomach, pancreas, bile duct and the whole gall bladder.

Three months later a check-up revealed his cancer had spread to the lymph nodes and was classified as stage 4.

“We were living in Loma Linda, California at that time and Gary was getting his treatments there,” said Susan. “But after the cancer metastasized, his doctors said they couldn’t do any more for him.”

“At the same time our kids were asking us to move back to Hull, so we began looking for a hospital that could treat Gary. We discovered a doctor at Creighton who was trying a new chemo concoction for pancreatic cancer and the survival rates were at 80 percent.”

They returned to Hull and Gary began treatments at Creighton. After five months the tumors were shrinking and five months later they were gone and his lymph nodes were back to normal.

It is an amazing story and one that Gary loves to share. “When he hears about someone who is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he gets right on the phone with them,” said Susan. “He wants to share his story and encourage them. I think giving hope to others is God’s plan for him.”

Gary is still receiving chemo at Creighton every three weeks and gets his next CAT scan on Monday June 12. “We’re praying that it will still be clean and we’ll still have our miracle,” she said.

“Cancer research is paying off and that’s why something like the Relay for Life is so important.”

Mady Hansmann, daughter of Dwayne and Rebecca Hansmann, Boyden, is also scheduled to speak during the Relay. The 16-year-old will be a junior at Boyden-Hull in the fall. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 11.

Comments are closed.

  • New license plate designs unveiled for public vote

    August 16th, 2017
    by

    New license plate designs unveiled for public vote Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) director, Mark Lowe, unveiled three potential designs for Iowa’s new


    Western Christian introducing new exchange program

    August 16th, 2017
    by

    Last year, Western Christian High School in Hull wrapped up a huge building and remodeling project. This year, principal Dan Barkel brings his full attention back to education.


    A love for Liberia

    August 16th, 2017
    by

    Brynn Van Voorst is only 14 years old but she’s already showing a compassion for others that is beyond her age.


    Driesen Eye Center offering ‘eclipse glasses’

    August 9th, 2017
    by

    When the total solar eclipse makes its way across the United States Monday, Aug. 21, for the first time in almost 100 years, there’s a way to watch the event without damaging your eyes.


    Auctioneer values Boyden ties

    August 9th, 2017
    by

    Del Beyer grew up on a Boyden farm, hearing his dad dabble occasionally in auctioneering and also going with his father to the sale barn where he was fascinated by the auctioneers. “It has always intrigued me,” Beyer said.


  • Feenstra leaving insurance business for college position

    August 2nd, 2017
    by

    After working as the insurance manager at ISB Insurance in Hull nine years, Randy Feenstra has changed his focus. Instead of being employed by a business, he’s now teaching students about business and government.


    Keeping the tradition alive

    August 2nd, 2017
    by

    The Western Christian athletic department is well known throughout northwest Iowa, and the state in general, for having quality sports programs year in and year out.


    A year for the history books

    August 2nd, 2017
    by

    In order to build a successful athletic department, your athletes need to “buy into” the system and what the coaches are trying to teach them.


    Kerr joins Rock Valley Police Department

    July 26th, 2017
    by

    Last week, Jordan Kerr joined the Rock Valley Police Department as one of six full-time officers in that organization.


    Business condos available in Hull

    July 26th, 2017
    by

    Need affordable shop space for your small business? Or a large shed for your toys?


  • [Advertisement.]
  • What’s Happening

    Albert R. Heemstra

    Heemstra Heemstra 95 Hospers, Iowa August 10, 2017 Albert Heemstra, 95, of Hospers, Iowa, passed away Thursday, Aug.

    Ernest A. Winter

    Ernest A. Winter 84 Boyden, Iowa August 9, 2017 Ernest A. Winter, 84, of Boyden, Iowa, passed away Wednesday, Aug.

    William “Zeke” J. Nieuwendorp

    Nieuwendorp Nieuwendorp 70 Hull, Iowa August 7, 2017 William “Zeke” Nieuwendorp, 70, of Hull, Iowa, passed away Monday, Aug.